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Married in UK, divorce in Japan -- advice please

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  • Married in UK, divorce in Japan -- advice please

    Hi GP Forums,

    Despite this being my first post, I am a regular reader. Before I start, I will state now: I have done my research, I have searched these forums and others like it for months. However, I've not found the answers to my specific questions, so I'm posing them now.

    My situation: UK citizen, married in the UK three years ago to a J-woman. Very unhappily married, no prospect or desire to reconcile the marriage from either party. I won't go into details here, but for the sake of clarity please just assume my reasons are sound. Unlike many people in this situation who have posted about it online, we have no children, which I hope makes the proceedings rather less complicated.

    What I'd like to know is:

    * Do you have prior experience of marriage in the UK, divorce in Japan? If so, would you be willing to PM me or share your experience here?
    * Can you recommend a good English-speaking legal counsel, if it's necessary? I am reluctant to pick one without a reliable recommendation.
    * What am I legally obliged to pay my wife as a settlement, assuming divorce by mutual consent in Japan?
    * What is reasonably expected of me by Japanese society in terms of a parting settlement, above and beyond the legal minimum?
    * Does a divorce by mutual consent in Japan constitute a legal divorce in the UK? Bear in mind we have been living together in Japan for more than a year.
    * If divorce by mutual consent in Japan is not legal in the UK, will UK law require me to give her half of everything, despite her never contributing anything to our finances?

    I know a lawyer will be able to answer these questions (for a substantial fee), but I don't know where to start in that respect, as I mention above. I would also like this thread to serve as a useful starting point for future couples in the same situation.

    Please reply if you have prior experience or know of someone who has been through this before. Opinion is sometimes useful, but I would like to stick to the facts where possible. I am not looking for a debate about whether I should do this or not; my mind is made up.

    Thanks in advance for your help

  • #2
    Originally posted by northern monkey View Post
    Please reply if you have prior experience or know of someone who has been through this before. Opinion is sometimes useful, but I would like to stick to the facts where possible. I am not looking for a debate about whether I should do this or not; my mind is made up.

    Thanks in advance for your help
    Just one point here, a mutual decision divorce is only possible if you can both agree on the terms of separation. You both might want a divorce but if you bicker over how much to give her, whether she should get 50% of your house in the UK then you will have to take it to court and seek mediation. Its not mutual if she doesnt agree to you keeping your house and paying her off for example. Once you sign the divorce papers then you are effectively divorced and its very hard to go back and fix things once you are legally divorced. I made that mistake as we still have outstanding property issues and you can lose leverage.

    2. Wife may not contribute to the finances but she was an equal partner to the marriage. You may not have kids but she may wished to be compensated for how much she contributed to the marriage. Just because she doesnt work it doesnt mean she contributed nothing. The courts will take into account the length of the marriage, reasons for divorce when deciding the level of consolation compensation (isharyo). If you pay her issharyo you may be able to walk away with property intact. I haver no idea what the actual figures are but based on what people have paid in the past and the length of your marriage you are probably looking at 1-2 million yen- just my opinion though. You seem to have no joint assets here and no kids so theres no reason she should be able to take you to the cleaners.

    PS is the property in the UK in both names or in your name only? a 50% split is no means guaranteed in Japan, it depends on what British law says about who gets what in a divorce involving property. I got divorced last year and as I have property in joint names in New Zealand then it was treated as marital property and is being divided accordingly- we were married 15 years though.

    3. Only my experience but once you are divorced in Japan then you are divorced worldwide. A finalised Japanese divorce is recognised virtually anywhere, including kyogi (mutual) rikon.

    Best to talk to a lawyer first of course.
    Last edited by KansaiBen; 2009-09-26, 10:12 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by northern monkey View Post
      * Can you recommend a good English-speaking legal counsel, if it's necessary? I am reluctant to pick one without a reliable recommendation.
      * What am I legally obliged to pay my wife as a settlement, assuming divorce by mutual consent in Japan?
      * Does a divorce by mutual consent in Japan constitute a legal divorce in the UK? Bear in mind we have been living together in Japan for more than a year.
      I know a lawyer will be able to answer these questions (for a substantial fee), but I don't know where to start in that respect, as I mention above. I would also like this thread to serve as a useful starting point for future couples in the same situation.
      I have no experience with these things, but I can recommend the Bar Association- they are near Ichigaya Station, as I recall. You can go there for only 5000yen/hour with a Japanese-English interpreter (provided by them for free, as I recall) and ask a bunch of questions and they will give you all you need. They are real lawyers and are very helpful in giving general outlines of laws and how to proceed.
      The number is 03-3581-1511.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by KansaiBen View Post
        2. Wife may not contribute to the finances but she was an equal partner to the marriage. You may not have kids but she may wished to be compensated for how much she contributed to the marriage. Just because she doesnt work it doesnt mean she contributed nothing.
        This is true, in many marriages the wife contributes in other ways. However, in our case she hasn't done anything of note. Housework was neglected during the time she didn't work (and still is, but at least she is working part-time now) and she is happy to spend our money on holidays for herself, because my work commitments prevented me from taking ten weeks a year vacation. It has been a particularly one-sided, selfish relationship in terms of give and take.

        Originally posted by KansaiBen View Post
        PS is the property in the UK in both names or in your name only? a 50% split is no means guaranteed in Japan, it depends on what British law says about who gets what in a divorce involving property. I got divorced last year and as I have property in joint names in New Zealand then it was treated as marital property and is being divided accordingly- we were married 15 years though.

        3. Only my experience but once you are divorced in Japan then you are divorced worldwide. A finalised Japanese divorce is recognised virtually anywhere, including kyogi (mutual) rikon.

        Best to talk to a lawyer first of course.
        No property to speak of. All assets are liquid or paper investment-based. I'm also being made redundant so I will have a cash lump-sum soon, which will make it much easier to pay her off in cash all at once.

        Originally posted by nynapaj View Post
        I have no experience with these things, but I can recommend the Bar Association- they are near Ichigaya Station, as I recall. You can go there for only 5000yen/hour with a Japanese-English interpreter (provided by them for free, as I recall) and ask a bunch of questions and they will give you all you need. They are real lawyers and are very helpful in giving general outlines of laws and how to proceed.
        The number is 03-3581-1511.
        Thanks so much for that, it's exactly what I was hoping for

        Thank you to you both for these very helpful comments. I'm looking forward to putting this chapter of my life behind me.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by northern monkey View Post
          No property to speak of. All assets are liquid or paper investment-based. I'm also being made redundant so I will have a cash lump-sum soon, which will make it much easier to pay her off in cash all at once.
          assets dont have to be in property. Your pension can be considered a liquid asset and she may have a rightful claim to part of it.

          what happened in my case is my lawyer totalled up all the money, stocks, cash, investments we had on paper and divided it down the middle. that includes any personal money she has too. Balances are shifted to each side of the ledger so each gets 50%. If you try and hide your offshore assets then it could look rather dodgy.

          At moment she has all my cash but Im waiting for her to sign over her half of our house.

          Probably better to cut your losses now if the situation is that bad with lazy housewife etc.

          Comment


          • #6
            Japanese Wills - how to access in a divorce case

            Hi
            I'm in a similar situation to the one in this thread. Married a lazy Japanese woman fifteen years ago who decided to spend all my money and not work.

            However she is about to inherit massive amounts of assets from her ill father.

            Can anyone advise how I can get that included in the asset pool for oour divorce proceedings? Namely, I need to access the last will and testament of the father.

            Any advise would be appreciated.

            Barry

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by northern monkey View Post
              This is true, in many marriages the wife contributes in other ways. However, in our case she hasn't done anything of note. Housework was neglected during the time she didn't work (and still is, but at least she is working part-time now) and she is happy to spend our money on holidays for herself, because my work commitments prevented me from taking ten weeks a year vacation. It has been a particularly one-sided, selfish relationship in terms of give and take.



              No property to speak of. All assets are liquid or paper investment-based. I'm also being made redundant so I will have a cash lump-sum soon, which will make it much easier to pay her off in cash all at once.



              Thanks so much for that, it's exactly what I was hoping for

              Thank you to you both for these very helpful comments. I'm looking forward to putting this chapter of my life behind me.
              does she know all you have?
              i hope you can guess my line of reasoning.
              wife not know, better.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by BarryJM View Post
                Can anyone advise how I can get that included in the asset pool for oour divorce proceedings? Namely, I need to access the last will and testament of the father.

                Any advise would be appreciated.

                Barry
                The guy doesnt have one foot in the grave yet and you are fighting over his bones on how much you as a non-relative will get of it. How tacky.

                You usually cant access it until the the guy dies and its contents are revealed by the executor of the estate. thats the way it usually works in my country unless the guy has a living will. i.e he will reveal who gets what before he dies.

                It can only be included in the asset pool if he dies before you get a divorce. Once you get a divorce it will be near impossible to go back for more just because ex-wife comes into a lot of money.

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